Tuesday, March 4, 2014

the early church was strong. why?

John 15:26  NLT
But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.

The Holy Spirit is the presence of God in our lives and on earth today.  We are lost without Him, without God.  Acts 2 describes for us the coming of the Holy Spirit. 

This was an amazing time for the early church as God moved daily.  The people lived with excitement and expectation.  We’ve got to live the same way.  If we are tired of having no power, no joy, no heart in what we do, then we have to do something different.

Understanding that we want something different, look at what happened in Acts 2 with the people following Jesus.  What made them strong?  What gave these people unity?  Why did they experience things we aren’t experiencing?  Let’s learn…

What made them strong was the understanding that the most important thing, the real message, what changes lives (and still is the only change agent) is salvation that comes only from Jesus.  Peter in Acts 2 was speaking and drew all his listeners to make a decision to accept Jesus.  That’s our call.

Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Salvation brings the forgiveness of sin as well as brought the Holy Spirit of God in to our lives.  This reality is a huge piece of their strength.

But now you belong to Christ Jesus. Though you once were far away from God, now you have been brought near to him because of the blood of Christ.

The next thing that made the early church strong was their commitment to spiritual disciplines.  They kept their minds active in God’s word, the Bible, in spending time with other believers, in serving those in need and in prayer.  All four of those things are a huge part of our lives if we really are following Jesus.

2 Timothy 3:16-17  NASB
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it with an attitude of thanksgiving;

One of the last things that the first church knew was that seeing God work and serving others keeps us set on keeping our joy.  It also lets others see God.

Matthew 9:8  NASB
But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

The church, the people following Jesus, were excited about their personal relationship with God and about helping others get connected to God.  What they understood was that people need to see authentic or real faith lived out.  Here is one of the greatest verses about this:

All the believers were of one heart and mind, and they felt that what they owned was not their own; they shared everything they had.

May our lives so lift up Jesus that those who do not know Jesus come to know Him.  May our commitment to the Bible give us strength and much to live by.  May our commitment to other believers give us courage to go forward even when times are tough.  May our commitment to serve the people we are around show that we really do love Jesus and love people the way Jesus does!

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